Common Medication Errors and their Prevention

Medication errors are an all too common medical mistake.  These errors account for a large portion of all illnesses and injuries caused by prescription drugs.  In this article we will be discussing the most common causes of prescription drug error and what you and your doctor can do to prevent them.

There are many ways that a medication error can harm a patient.  Prescription drugs, meant to help and heal, can actually do serious harm, even kill the user.  Listed below are some of the more common ways prescription drug errors occur:

  • Handwritten errors- When a doctor handwrites a prescription a similarly named drug may be given instead of the intended medication.
  • Dosing error- This mistake can happen when a dose has trailing zeros (.50 mg instead of .500 for example) or when the drug is prescribed for too few or too many doses.
  • Failure to detect a disease state contradiction to the drug therapy- In other words, this mistake occurs when the doctor does not consider other diseases or illnesses that are affecting the patient.
  • Drug interactions- When a physician does not detect a significant drug interaction there can be serious, even deadly effects on the patient.

The above mistakes can and should be prevented by both the prescribing doctor and the physician.  Though it is your job, as a patient, to disclose all information pertinent to your condition and health the doctor must ensure that the medication is the right fit for the patient.  Communication is one of the most important ways to avoid prescription drug errors.  The physician must take the time to speak with the patient, gather a complete health history and thoroughly review patient records and any current medications.

If you believe that a drug error has caused you harm or that a loved one has been sickened or killed by a medical mistake please do not hesitate to contact your Virginia and North Carolina medical malpractice attorney at Tavss Fletcher today for your free consultation.  We pride ourselves on the compassionate care we give to our clients, our extensive experience and winning record.  If you are ready to fight for your rights and for maximum compensation for your loss please contact an attorney today.